Why is it important? Fans of Arkane’s previous work, such as the Dishonored games and Prey, were disappointed to discover that the developer’s latest title, Redfall, will require an internet connection even when playing solo. Now the studio is trying to offer an offline mode, but nothing can be guaranteed.
Amid a new round of previews for Microsoft’s upcoming action game Redfall, developer Arkane told Eurogamer that it is working to address its internet connection requirement. However, making such a significant change a month before launch can be difficult.
While many major publishers have turned to games based on online services, Bethesda is known for primarily making games that can be enjoyed completely without an internet connection. The subsidiary, Arkane in particular, had been developing offline-only single-player games for over 20 years, that is, until 2021 when it added an optional player-versus-player mode to Deathloop.
So fans of the company’s previous games have had reservations about Redfall, which appears to prioritize a four-player co-op mode. Arkane claims that the solo mode can deliver a full experience, but still needs an online connection.
Game director Harvey Smith said this week that the company is responding to negative feedback about internet requirements and will try to find a solution, although online mode is a key component. While some may speculate that Redfall is forcing players to sell their microtransactions online or implement DRM, Smith said the only reason is telemetry.
Like other Arkane titles, Redfall allows players to use its tools in a variety of ways, and the studio wants raw data on how users react to the gameplay. Smith promises that it won’t feature any “games as a service” features other than cosmetic DLC.
Smith acknowledged that some people experience slow internet or outages. However, it is not clear if Arkane can change the offline mode in Redfall. The company needs to rework the user interface and develop a method to encrypt save files, thus preventing cheaters from breaking the co-op mode.
In a separate interview with IGN France this week, Smith let slip that Arkane originally planned a PlayStation 5 version of Redfall. However, after Microsoft acquired ZeniMax, it directed the developer to focus on Xbox and PC. It’s unclear whether the PS5 version has reached active development or is just in the planning stages, but Smith says Microsoft has definitely ruled it out.
The revelation could potentially undermine Microsoft’s argument for its $67 billion purchase of Activision Blizzard. PlayStation maker Sony has repeatedly raised fears among international regulators that Microsoft will restrict Activision Blizzard properties such as Call of Duty to Xbox and Windows, as it does with Bethesda titles. such as Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI.
Microsoft has repeatedly responded by offering and making deals to bring Call of Duty to other platforms. However, the US Federal Trade Commission recently requested more information regarding Microsoft’s earlier acquisition of ZeniMax, the parent company of Bethesda and Arkane, alleging that Bethesda’s upcoming Starfield for Xbox and PC making it exclusive violates an earlier agreement.